It goes without saying that 2020 was a challenging year. We’re taking a look back and shining a spotlight on some key trucking issues that we think will continue to impact drivers and fleet owners into the New Year:
Driver Shortage and Retention Issues
For four years in a row, the driver shortage has remained the top industry issue according to the American Transportation Research Institute. Older drivers are retiring and younger prospects aren’t considering trucking as an exciting and viable career option as much as they used to. More conversations will be needed to address how the trucking industry can cast itself in a more desirable light to attract more drivers.
Walking hand-in-hand with the driver shortage problem are the two issues of recruiting new talent and retaining great drivers. Interestingly enough, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to skyrocketing freight demand and an influx of new drivers into the workforce, which helped alleviate some of the shortage. However, the question on the minds of fleet drivers and owner-operators now is how they will be compensated. What would you do to retain your best drivers?
There is more than one way to attract and retain the best drivers. But, many carriers have been slow on the uptake when it comes to this issue, which is why we think this problem will continue into the New Year. What are some possible solutions to this issue? If a global salary bump isn’t possible, consider incentivizing drivers with yearly bonuses for hitting key performance metrics when it comes to fuel economy, productivity, and safety. Including benefits like health insurance and possibly even retirement benefits in a driver’s total compensation package can potentially have a big, positive impact on driver retention and engagement.
Just like in any industry, there is a relationship between pay, benefits, satisfaction, and productivity. Signing bonuses can also be used to attract new drivers as well as the opportunity to be mentored by more experienced drivers. It’s not just about the money.
On The Mind’s of Drivers: Career and Finances
The pandemic and the economic crisis that followed hit many Americans hard this year. While we don’t yet know the full, long term impacts of COVID-19, we can say with some certainty that a career in trucking as an owner-operator could be a well-paying solution -- especially for those that lost their job this year as a result of the pandemic. There’s no better time to take back control of one’s career, finances, and if their current financial position allows, to also save for the future. In times of uncertainty, you can’t ask for more than that.
What do you think will be a hot industry topic in 2021? Tell us in the comment below!
(Also, be sure to check out more trends from previous years here!)